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Morning 9: Phil has to wait | Vic Open | Tiger’s ready | PGA Memes speaks

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

February 11, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Phil has to wait until Monday
Golf Channel’s Will Gray on the pause button being pressed on Phil’s come-from-behind win at Pebble.
  • “After the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was delayed by a hail storm, only darkness could keep Phil Mickelson from adding another chapter to the tournament record books.”
  • “Mickelson started the final round three shots behind Paul Casey, but he used a run of back-nine birdies to overtake the Englishman and build a three-shot lead. When darkness fell, Mickelson and Casey had just two holes left to play (Casey still faces a 3-footer for par on 16) and will return to the course at 11 a.m. ET to complete the final round.”
  • “Mickelson has won this event four times before, most recently in 2012, and a victory would tie him with Mark O’Meara for the most in tournament history. The 48-year-old trailed Casey by two through the first seven holes, but a combination of Mickelson birdies and Casey bogeys turned a two-shot deficit into a three-shot advantage in the span of about 90 minutes. Mickelson is 6 under on his final round and 18 under for the week, with Casey at 15 under and tied for second with Scott Stallings, who completed a 6-under 66 before sunset.”
2. Vic Open
The first simultaneous, equal-pay event is in the books.
Golfworld’s John Huggan on the action at the Vic Open and its two winners…”Only five events into his rookie season, 27-year-old Scot David Law can now call himself a European Tour champion. And Celine Boutier of France can do likewise on the LPGA Tour, early in only her second year as a full card-holder.”
  • “Reflecting perhaps the difficulty in setting-up any course for both men and women-a succession of tight pin positions on the final day were a lot more accessible for the male pros-the winning scores ended up 10 shots apart. Law’s closing eagle on the par-5 18th on the Beach Course at the 13th Beach Golf Club not far from Melbourne took the former Scottish Amateur champion to 18 under par and a one-stroke advantage over a pair of Australians, Brad Kennedy and Wade Ormsby. Boutier’s eight-under aggregate was two strokes better than two more Aussies, Sarah Kemp and Su Oh, as well as England’s Charlotte Thomas. Both winners earned $165,000.”
3. Meanwhile, in Panama
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine with the report…
  • “Michael Gligic entered this week’s Panama Championship with just one career top-10 finish on the Web.com Tour. Now, the 29-year-old Canadian is a Web.com Tour champion.”
  • “Gligic, who earned his Web.com Tour card for the first time via Q-School last December, shot 5-under 65 Sunday at Panama Golf Club to climb six spots on the leaderboard to 8 under and win by a shot over China’s Xinjun Zhang, who closed in 66.”
  • “The Ontario native made six birdies in his final round, including three straight, at Nos. 9-11. Gligic rose to No. 2 on the Web.com Tour points list with his victory.”
4. Greatest senior of them all?
Has to be, right? Bernhard Langer’s latest W gives him the record for senior career earnings, although many will undercut his achievements owing to a certain long putter.
  • Golf Digest’s John Strege…”His latest victory, in the Oasis Championship in Boca Raton, Fla., on Sunday, enabled him to break Hale Irwin’s record for career earnings on the PGA Tour Champions. His $255,000 first-prize money raised his career total to $27,196,504, $75,590 ahead of Irwin.”
  • “Langer, 61, took a one-stroke lead into the final round on the Old Course at Broken Sound, shot a seven-under-par 65 to equal the low score of the day, and won by five.”
5. Ready for Riv
A bit from Dan Kilbridge of Golfweek’s look at Tiger Woods’ return to action this week…
  • “This year I have an understanding of what I can and cannot do,” Woods said. “Finishing the year the way I did in the playoffs, hitting it like I did was great because I finally built it to a place where I can take a little time off and I know what I’ll have when I come back. I don’t have to go looking, searching for something, so that helps a lot.”
  • “Telling comments coming off a T-20 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open in January at Torrey Pines, where Woods wasn’t as sharp as he hoped but still put together a solid result without much help from the putter.”
  • “The fact Woods knows what his game is now all about means he’s spent the past few weeks sharpening and honing his swing. It’s not the big soul-searching process it was at times last year.”
6. Respect earned
Ho Sung Choi didn’t make the cut at Pebble Beach, but he did earn a measure of respect to go along with the amused infatuation the golf world has directed at him.
  • USA Today’s Steve Dimeglio…”Yet the 45-year-old from a small fishing village in South Korea, who took up golf when he was 25, couldn’t stop smiling as the waves crashed the craggy coastline. He had won the lottery, after all, and his first trip to American soil and his first start on the PGA Tour left a lasting impression not only for Choi but for those entertained by his affable personality, showmanship and outrageous follow-throughs full of twists and turns that have made him an internet sensation.”
  • “On the scenic stages of Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula’s Shore Course, Choi was the biggest star in a tournament filled with celebrities and some of the game’s best players, his festive galleries larger than those following Bill Murray, Wayne Gretzky, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth.”
  • And this…”While the record will show he missed the cut by 11 shots after rounds of 72-75-77, Choi wasn’t out of his element in a week full of elements featuring hail, showers and bone-chilling temps. The four-time winner on the Japanese and Korean tours was baffled by the Poa annua greens but was far from a sideshow, as he impressed Kelly, who has six victories on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions.”
7. 90 years of slow play
Geoff Shackelford reflects on the 1929 L.A. Open for Golfweek
  • “Walter Hagen was not having a great L.A. Open week after opening with a 77. The reigning Champion Golfer of the Year was announced on the first tee by actress Fay Ward as “the Opium Champion of Great Britain” and was paired with Tommy Armour during the third round of that 1929 L.A. Open, the first at Riviera.”
  • “Back then, groupings were notoriety-driven, so The Haig and the Silver Scot were the main draws and put together for Saturday’s round. Armour infamously set up shop over his shots after he triple-bogeyed the first hole and watched a lead slip away. Hagen was out of contention when organizers planned to put him with Armour for Sunday’s final round.”
  • “Knowing January days were short and not wanting to suffer another day with Armour, Hagen threatened to withdraw before suffering through another 18 with the Silver Scot. Organizers caved.”
8. Team Eldrick vs. Team Fredrick
While it’s unclear if the Monday finish at Pebble Beach will disrupt these plans, Golfweek’s Forecaddie took a look at the unique Monday itinerary at the Genesis Open.
  • “For $25 a fan can get a little bit of everything, from seeing some top players supporting their alma maters to major celebs. Oh, and Tiger Woods.”
  • “After 12 collegiate players vie for a Genesis Open field spot, a new team element hosted by Tiger and Fred Couples will feature a nine-hole celebrity match play. At around 2 p.m. PT, The Celebrity Cup “will bring together two teams comprised of six celebrities” with Team Eldrick captained by Woods and Team Frederick captained by LA fan favorite Fred Couples.”
  • “The Man Out Front has confirmed that Mark Wahlberg, Larry Fitzgerald, Jerry Rice, Nick Jonas and Reggie Bush have all committed – on top of Woods making a rare Monday appearance at a PGA Tour event. It’s all been an amazing L.A. transformation given how much of a struggle former tournament host Jerry West had in convincing the Tour and the tournament’s former sponsor, Northern Trust, to embrace L.A.’s access to attention-getting star power early in the week.”
9. PGA Memes speaks
Hally Leadbetter talked to the man (presumably) behind the PGA Memes Instagram account
“Walk us through the meme-making process.”
“I’m pretty busy in all areas of my life, so I try to balance it out and get ahead of things. The bigger following you get you have, the more people are sharing ideas and giving you inspiration. I’ll share a lot of images and line up different thoughts in my head for when the right moment comes. I try to have a content calendar because I think you can overshare and overdo things sometimes. I’m always trying to find something that fits with the audience and that’s “now.” There are a lot of pages that just repost the same material over and over again, but I’m always trying to push the boundaries. I’m really not that crazy; people probably think I’m nuts when they see some of my posts but there’s been times where I’ve second-guessed myself and then when I post it, it’s like “Wow, people liked that.”
“Wow, content calendar, so you’re pretty serious about this. What’s your day job, and what are your aspirations for PGA Memes?”
“I’m an executive that focuses on sales, marketing and business development. Understanding your content calendar is key because you don’t want to overdo it, and you need to know the right times to post. So I have that embedded in me from my day-to-day career. And for this, it certainly has taken off and opened the doors to some opportunities, but I’m not quite ready to quit my day job just yet. But the page is getting over 6 million impressions a week and it’s growing over 1,500 people a day, so I’m projecting to hit over a half a million followers by the end of the year. So who knows? When you get to that point you never know where it can take you. Overall, it’s just a hobby, it’s fun to do. It’s kind of an escape from day-to-day reality.”
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Kuchar defends caddie payment: “For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week” (Update: Kuchar to pay $50K)

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UPDATE: 2/15, 5:10 p.m. 

Following his opening round at the Riviera Country Club for the Genesis Classic, Matt Kuchar announced he has reversed course and will pay fill-in caddie David Ortiz $50,000 for his services during last year’s Mayakoba Classic.

Kuchar issued that statement below, via PGATour.com.

“This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse. They made it seem like I was marginalizing David Ortiz and his financial situation, which was not my intention. I read them again and cringed. That is not who I am and not what I want to represent. My entire Tour career, I have tried to show respect and positivity. In this situation, I have not lived up to those values or to the expectations I’ve set for myself. I let myself, my family, my partners and those close to me down, but I also let David down. I plan to call David tonight, something that is long overdue, to apologize for the situation he has been put in, and I have made sure he has received the full total that he has requested.

“I never wanted to bring any negativity to the Mayakoba Golf Classic. I feel it is my duty to represent the tournament well, so I am making a donation back to the event, to be distributed to the many philanthropic causes working to positively impact the communities of Playa del Carmen and Cancún.

“For my fans, as well as fans of the game, I want to apologize to you for not representing the values instilled in this incredible sport. Golf is a game where we call penalties on ourselves. I should have done that long ago and not let this situation escalate.”

End update. 

Earlier this week, Matt Kuchar’s stand-in caddie for last year’s Mayakoba Classic spoke about how he felt he was “taken advantage of” after receiving a payment of $5,000 following Kuchar’s win in Mexico, which carried with it a $1,296,000 winners prize. On Wednesday, Kuchar vehemently defended what he sees as a fair and just payment to David Ortiz.

In an interview with Golf.com, Kuchar claimed that he was up front and honest about the arrangement prior to the event, and Ortiz had accepted the terms, which reportedly were $1,000 if Kuchar missed the cut, $2,000 if he made the cut, $3,000 if he had a top-20 and $4,000 if he had a top-10. The reason for Ortiz’ dissatisfaction with the payment post-event? That’s something Kuchar put down to outside influences.

“I kind of think someone got in his ear. I was very clear and very upfront on Tuesday (of the event). And he said, ‘OK.’ He had the ability, with bonuses, to make up to $4,000.

The extra $1,000 was, ‘Thank you — it was a great week.’ Those were the terms. He was in agreement with those terms. That’s where I struggle. I don’t know what happened. Someone must have said, ‘You need much more.’”

Ortiz previously stated in an interview with Golf.com how he had been offered an additional $15,000 but had refused the offer believing it to be substantially short of his $50,000 evaluation.

On Wednesday evening, Kuchar confirmed Ortiz’ story, saying “that was the agency”, and when questioned who would have paid the additional sum had Ortiz accepted, he stated, “It’s not coming out of Steinberg’s pocket.” Referring to his agent Mark Steinberg.

Kuchar will return to Mexico next week for the WGC-Mexico Championship for the first time since his victory in Mayakoba, and for the 40-year-old, the pay dispute is now over. Further explaining why he feels his payment to Ortiz for that week in Mayakoba had been fair, Kuchar stated

“For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week.”

 

 

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Pro cards a 17 at the LECOM Suncoast Classic, but delivers a valuable message after doing so

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Kevin Na’s infamous 16 at the Valero Texas Open back in 2011 will most likely follow him around for the rest of his career, but over on the Web.com Tour Ben DeArmond eclipsed that number, taking a 17 on his second hole of the day at the LECOM Suncoast Classic.

DeArmond, a club pro at TPC at Treviso Bay, opened the day with a bogey, before stepping on the tee at number two where it all went monumentally wrong. The tee shot on the par-4 second hole is a tester at Lakewood Ranch, with water down the right and OOB down the left. DeArmond hit his first tee shot out of play and then proceeded to do the same with his next five attempts too.

@GolfTalkCanada

DeArmond finally got the ball in-play on his seventh attempt and ended up carding a brutal 17 on the hole.

Speaking after the round, DeArmond who is playing this week on a sponsors exemption said

“I couldn’t get (the ball) up in the air even with a 5-iron, so I’m not used to that, just went a little numb. I’ve never made a 17 in my life, not even when I started playing golf,” he said. “After that it was fine, just had to feel my arms a little bit. … It was just nerves. I had a great range session, felt good going in, and it was just an out-of-body experience on that hole.”

The Floridian carded an opening nine of 54 which would have broken many players spirit, but to DeArmond’s credit, he not only finished the round but steadied the ship on his back nine with a homeward 37 to finish 19-over par.

While nobody could have blamed him if he packed it in after that torturous hole, walking away was never an option for DeArmond, who gave this great piece of advice to all golfers after his round.

“If you learn anything from me today, it’s don’t withdraw, don’t give up, have fun with it. It’s a game, everybody has a bad day.”

DeArmond starts his second round today at 2.06pm ET. Looking on the bright side; he’s just one place back of multiple major champ Angel Cabrera.

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Morning 9: Rainy Riv (Spieth co-leads) | USGA makes a mockery of amateur status? | 17 on a par 4

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)
  • February 15, 2019
Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Spieth co-leads suspended round 1 at rainy Riviera
Evin Priest of the AAP…”Jordan Spieth chipping in for birdie to take a share of the Genesis Open lead was the highlight of a rain-soaked and incomplete first round in Los Angeles.”
  • “After significant delays due to heavy rain on Thursday, no golfer in the 144-player field was able to complete the first round before US PGA Tour officials called play for the day just after 5.30pm due to darkness.”
  • “…he was joined moments later by South Korea’s Sung Kang.”

Full piece.

 

2. Mav leads Suncoast (MIKE WEIR 2 strokes back)
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”He chunk-pulled a 3-wood into the water and then flew the green with a wedge to bogey the par-5 16th hole Thursday at Lakewood National in Bradenton, Fla.”
  • “The mistake dropped McNealy back to even par through seven holes. But he remained positive.”
  • “A hole later, he told his caddie, Travis McAllister: “This golf course feels so gettable right now. I feel like I could birdie every hole.”
  • “McNealy just about did. He birdied eight of his last 10 holes and posted a second-nine 29 to shoot 8-under 64 and grab the clubhouse lead at the Web.com Tour’s Lecom Suncoast Classic before play was suspended because of darkness.”
3. 17
A club pro, teeing it up in the Suncoast Classic took no fewer than 17 strokes to get the ball in the hole at a par 4.
  • FTW’s Andrew Joseph…”The hole in itself seemed incredibly difficult: A 491-yard par 4 with water and woods on opposite sides.”
  • “It was a struggle as DeArmond hit six shots out of play. “
  • “At least he only needed one putt from the green. You have to look at the bright side.”
  • “I’ve learned nerves are a real thing,” DeArmond said. “I had a great range session, felt good going in, and it was just an out-of-body experience on that hole.”
4. A blow to amateur golf?
Geoff Shackelford penned a quality look at/scathing take on the USGA’s handling of the Lucy Li situation.
A few highlights…
  • “The message from Lucy Li’s case is clear. Take free stuff. Use your skill as a golfer to be a billboard. Just be famous and likable enough and the governing bodies of golf won’t revoke your status.”
  • “In a sad statement about the weakened state of amateur golf, Lucy Li gets to retain her status despite starring in an Apple Watch ad while wearing scripted Nike apparel. Following a six-week investigation, the USGA determined that Li unknowingly violated amateur status rules after an elaborately produced piece was filmed following a call from “a casting agent for an acting assignment to promote Apple Watch.”
  • And this…”The USGA said in a statement that Romo is in the clear because “everyone knows him first as a professional football player and his fame and fortune is not derived from golf.” But he is adding to his fortune on the back of his likeness as a golfer who competes in U.S. Open qualifying as an excellent amateur.”
Shackelford went on to say the the meaning of “amateur status” has been undermined.
5. Boo’s back
Boo Weekley is teeing it up at this week’s Lecom Suncoast Classic on the Web.com Tour.
  • Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”The 45-year-old golfer hasn’t played on the PGA Tour since missing the cut at the 2017 RBC Canadian Open. He had surgery on his right elbow later that summer, after a bout with severe tendinitis, and the recovery kept him from hitting a golf ball for almost a year. When he finally was cleared to return to golf, his right shoulder started giving him trouble. The diagnosis?”
  • “I had cancer,” said Weekley, who went under the knife last July to remove the carcinoma and a cyst that had filled with fluid.
  • “The second operation kept him sidelined until late November…”

Full piece.

6. Actions speak louder?
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch says Sergio’s entire body of bad behavior trumps any apology tour.
  • “Twenty years ago at Wentworth in England, Garcia reacted to a lousy shot by ripping off his shoe and flinging it into the gallery. After missing a putt at Doral in 2007, he retrieved his ball then spit into the cup, a snotty gesture of contempt toward the competitors unfortunate enough to be playing behind him.”
  • “Those are but two snowflakes in a blizzard of boorish behavior.”
  • “There’s a club tossed into a lake, fans flipped off, microphones obliterated, his whirling dervish slashing in the bunker the day before his DQ in Saudi -all set to a whiny soundtrack that blames poor results on everyone from Tiger Woods to Carnoustie’s bunker rakers.”

Full piece.

 

7. Meanwhile, in Perth…
European Tour report…“Panuphol Pittayarat fired an impressive round of 66 to set the clubhouse target early on day two of the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth.”
  • “The innovative event is making its third appearance in the Race to Dubai, with three rounds of stroke play cutting the field before the top 24 players go head-to-head in six hole knockout match play on Sunday to decide a winner.”
At this writing, Thomas Pieters, Ryan Fox, and Matthew Griffing are tied at the top as well.

Full piece.

 

8. On Spec
Wanted to alert y’all to our Ryan Barath’s club building and fitting podcast, On Spec. Whether you’re an experienced enthusiast or a mere dabbler, you’ll enjoy the pod.
9. Tiger 17 Gloves
Indicating what we might expect going forward from the partnership, in exclusive video content for GolfTV Tiger Woods talked with Henni Zuel about his approach to playing in the rain.
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